Linda A. Freeman
For leveraging skill and influence that improve programs, partnerships, and people; for raising awareness of SWE’s mission company-wide; and for embodying the positive impact of women in engineering.
Linda A. Freeman’s professional career has spanned 25 years with Rockwell Automation (RA). She is an electrical engineer who specializes in industrial automation safety solutions for the entertainment industry — a role that she created. In her role as industry manager, she represents her employer in industry events and associations, she coaches and mentors sales engineers to support customers effectively and efficiently, and she works with business units on technology and services roadmaps to meet the automation and digital transformation needs of entertainment industry customers.
She is a frequent speaker at industry events and sought after for her knowledge on functional safety and cybersecurity. In a company of 24,000 people, she is the only woman certified as a functional safety instructor, and the first woman to join RA’s industry team. Three more women subsequently joined, crediting Freeman as their inspiration.
Freeman cites joining SWE in her first year of university as a life-changing moment. SWE has shaped her personal mission in life, is the center of her volunteerism, and has become her closest community of friends and coaches. At work, Freeman helped found RA Supporting Women in Engineering (RASWE), an employee resource group (ERG) that aligns with SWE’s mission and objectives. Founded in 2006 with eight members, RASWE has grown to more than 580 members globally and inspired a spinoff group, RA Women in the Field (RAWiFi). Helping women navigate their careers, form powerful networks and connections, and explore career opportunities, employee engagement scores of these ERG members rate higher than the corporate average. Freeman also started the annual process of the ERGs submitting for SWE Mission Awards, and now the groups are annually recognized for their achievements toward the mission and objectives of SWE and have received multiple best practice awards.
Outside of work, Freeman is a board member for AIMS International, a nonprofit dedicated to safety education, and ASTM International, a nonprofit devoted to creating standards to improve safety in the world. As a certified functional safety engineer and certified cybersecurity specialist, Freeman teaches at seminars and conferences about safety and cybersecurity for automation systems. She is the cybersecurity expert on the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions global security committee.
In her community, Freeman is on her homeowners association board of directors and enjoys seeing the impact of the board’s work on the quality of its neighborhood. She mentors multiple college students, judges at college competitions, and is an active FIRST® Robotics volunteer. As a member of the Ada Pressman Society, she funded the Freeman Family Scholarship, intended for a Black female, which was awarded for the first time in 2021.
A SWE member since 1991 and a life member since 2004, Freeman is a recipient of the SWE Distinguished New Engineer (2005) and Emerging Leader (2012) awards. She holds a B.E. in electrical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. She recently became a unified partner for Special Olympics triathlon athletes. Freeman and her husband, Paul, love traveling, participating in triathlons, spending time with their children, and petting every dog they see.